Distributed Cognition Blog Post 2

This comic depicts my students using their Seesaw journals in the classroom. I often integrate a Seesaw activity into my lessons as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability through activities of key concepts covered in the lesson taught. For example, after a STEM learning activity and corresponding read-aloud, I created a Seesaw activity to integrate technology into the learning experience. The students were prompted to draw a picture of what they would look like if they were the turkey in the story, and where in school they would hide if they got loose. Students used the tools in Seesaw to draw themselves as a turkey and then used the text tool to write the location of where they would hide. Students then used the record tool to record themselves saying where they would hide, and why they picked that spot. This activity allows students to express themselves, demonstrate text-to-self connections through personal experiences, as well as create deeper understanding through an enriching and engaging technological activity. Other examples of my integration of Seesaw activities have been reading comprehension questions as well as the incorporation of social and emotional health standards that allow students to express themselves. As Seesaw journals are only shared with the teacher, this allows students to feel comfortable talking about different concepts and aspects, while learning and developing as holistic individuals in the classroom. My teacher’s main incorporation of Seesaw journals in day-to-day activities is the implementation of social studies and science. My teacher will integrate a youtube video or read-aloud that will provide students with an exploration into a particular concept or topic. Students will then complete several activities such as writing prompts, work sheets, comprehension questions, and self-to-text connections. Seesaw journals integrate ELA standards and other content areas seamlessly through the various activities and elements. Teachers are able to facilitate high levels of learning through Seesaw as well as connect with students through the incorporating of personal experiences and individuality of activities and answers.

Distributed cognition is defined as the following, “a way to understand how people interact with their environment and how they can be enabled by the environment to undertake highly complex tasks that would usually be beyond the abilities of the unassisted individual” (Morgan, pg.127). Distributed cognition theory provides a significant insight into how learners conduct activity in computer mediated learning environments and how they interact with content using mediating artifacts (Morgan, pg.126). Distributed cognition is when learners are guided into cognitive activities that are appropriate, meaningful and effective, and purposeful. Seesaw journals create an environment that reflects distributed cognition as individuals are encouraged to think critically, develop high-level processing and problem-solving through the use of technology and programming. The effects through technology allow for students to develop 21st-century skills and are able to enhance the performance and academic achievement of the activities through supports and engagement (Saloman, pg.79). The effects with technology of Lexia creates a partnership that separates the students from the distractions of lower-level cognitive functions and allows for the individual to focus on high level thinking that leads to an improvement of intellectual performance (Salomon, pg.74).

There are several technology affordances when it comes to Lexia implementation in the classroom that are worth noting as the affordances and constraints greatly impact student learning and ability to use Lexia and facilitate learning (Morgan, pg.127). The teacher has to assign and allow access to activities, but the teacher has full creative ability to create activities and implement worksheets. Seesaw journals allow for a clear learning purpose as all activities are relevant to the classroom teachings and other instruction since it is assigned and created by the teacher. The teacher needs to spend a fair amount of time on Seesaw to learn the ins and outs of creating different activities, how to facilitate high-level learning, while also ensuring it is applicable to student academic success. In addition, Seesaw is a great way to communicate with parents and guardians through chats and messages. Seesaw is a great resource for the classroom but requires some time and effort to use effectively and efficiently. There is also a great deal of the material and abilities that students need to learn in order to operate and interact with their Seesaw journals. My teacher held a “how to” workshop to show the different aspects of the app and how to engage with the learning environment. The following skills students need to learn are about the login process, such as signing in through their Clever account, which is associated with a QR code that they must scan and then choose the Seesaw journal on the Clever site. In addition, students needed to learn how to get to the right class and teacher, as multiple teachers use Seesaw, such as their special teachers. Students then have to learn how to find the assigned activities. Students then learn about the various elements such as saving their work as a draft, how to submit their work, how to edit a submission, as well as the tools such as being able to write, use the text tool, draw different colors and use tools and utensils, using the record button. Seesaw is a great way to support learnings of all levels, as it allows for individualized activities, which is great for differentiation and personalized instruction, as well as supports such as information and words being read to them.

Seesaw facilitates high level processing as well as moderate level processing as students both create and compose through various activities and instruction through the journal entries (Morgan, Pg.134). Students are encouraged to paraphrase and reorganize, as well as write, label, summarize, and relate. Lexia creates an enriched learning environment and facilitates learning through complex activities that demonstrate the ability of technology to foster meaningful and purposeful learning to students. Monitoring includes identifying places of mismatch as well as ensuring complete coverage in information presented or knowledge demonstrated (Martin, pg.95). Through Seesaw, teachers have the ability to monitor student achievement. Teachers can view saved drafts and submission, allowing teachers to assess what students understand and have mastered. On Seesaw, teachers do not have access to monitor how much time students spent on an activity, and are not given grades and pre-assessment scores, as all activities must be checked by the teacher as they are created by the teacher. The teacher can use these assessments as a progress report through daily checks as well as determining when to move on to a new concept or topic. This is a key aspect that is helpful when there are big achievement gaps between students in one classroom, as the teacher can observe the various levels in the classroom. The incorporation of this technology programming leads to making students smarter. The youtube videos and supplemental activities allow students to facilitate high level thinking and learning and are able to apply their knowledge in various literacy concepts and aspects.

Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies. Technology, Knowledge & Learning, 17(3), 87-107.

Morgan, M., Brickell, G., Harper, B. (2008). Applying distributed cognition theory to the redesign of the ‘Copy and Paste’ function in order to promote appropriate learning outcomes.  Computers & Education, 50(1), 125-147.

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005)”Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology.”In: Robert Sternberg and David Preiss (Eds.).Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities. Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Publishers. pp. 71-86.


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